Akpabio: Whither The World-Class Hospital? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Akpabio: Whither The World-Class Hospital?

Posted: Sep 19, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Godswill Akpabio was governor of oil-rich Akwa Ibom State for eight years. Today, he is a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, to cap it all, he occupies the seat of the Minority Leader in the red chamber.  Before then, he was at different times local government chairman and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under Obong Victor Attah who was then the state governor. To say the least, God has been very kind to Akpabio. From a very humble background he rose to grace and became one of the forces to reckon with in the Nigerian political firmament. This is why I am tempted to ask the question, what does Akpabio want and what does he want to bequeath to this generation for which he would be recorded on the positive side of history?

I must say that Akpabio did not get this far on a platter of gold. The journey has been very bumpy and full of thorns. He fought so many battles to be what he is today; God was always there for him. Unfortunately, sometimes Akpabio tends to overstretch his luck and forget that there is nothing he could do on his own without God. He is loquacious, makes unguarded utterances, playing God in the life of his people, sometimes to his own embarrassment. God used Obong Victor Attah to bring him to limelight but today, rather than see the elder statesman and one of the founding fathers of modern Akwa Ibom as his political benefactor, he sees this internationally acclaimed architect as his arch enemy, all in the name of party politics. Although Attah never wanted him as his successor when he was leaving the Government House in 2007, it pleased God to turn the table in his favour because He says that our ways are not His ways and His ways are the best for us. With this, one would have expected Akpabio to be humble and allow the fear of God to guide him throughout his eight-year tenure and please his people the way God has favoured him. He carried himself as if it was by his power he climbed the ladder of life to the top. In fact, his closeness to the immediate past first family of Nigeria turned out to be a disaster rather than blessing, as a governor of an oil-rich state, what is known in our local parlance as money miss road. It was the greatest undoing of the Jonathan presidency. He used his position as the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and governor of Akwa Ibom State to create a number of enemies for Jonathan and the PDP. He was among those who, through their actions, inaction and utterances ruined Jonathan’s second term bid. He was too loud and he took Nigerians for granted.

He won a controversial election into the Senate and instead of lying low as a first timer into the red chamber, Akpabio showed his true colour. Our people say that when a fowl gets to a place for the first time, it stands on one foot and later on put down the second one when it gets used to the environment. But vintage Akpabio was on his two feet at the upper chamber and bulldozed his way, brushing aside all protocol, old timers and emerged Leader of the Minority Parties. By that position, he is a member of the leadership of the Senate. So, who says money does not answer everything? But at whose expense? Because somebody/people somewhere must pay for it. Every position comes with a price, financial, material, spiritual etc.

Now, the Distinguished Senator is said to have been flown abroad for medical treatment, following an auto crash on the Abuja Airport Road. So what happens to the much talked about multi-billion naira “world-class hospital” he claimed to have built for his people? If he had spent billions of taxpayers’ money to put up the hospital and told the world that it is comparable to any of its kind in the world, then why not patronise it? It simply shows that Akpabio was being economical with the truth in his assertion. Do we take it that Akpabio is only being obsessed with foreign medics or is it lack of confidence in his own hospital? I am at pains to hear that the state still ranks among the poorest in Nigeria in terms of human capital development. The infrastructural developments in the state are mere grandeur with little or no bearing to the real needs of the common Akwa Ibomites. Youth unemployment is still very high. Indigenes of the state still rank the highest among those who do menial jobs in our cities. Talk about house helps, cooks and stewards, gatemen, night guards, nannies, office cleaners/messengers etc, Akwa Ibom comes first! For instance, cinema galleria and an Olympic size stadium make no meaning to a hungry man. For an impoverished state like Akwa Ibom, a good leader should have thought of people-oriented projects that have direct bearing to the life of the common man. Where are the cottage industries? Where are the feeder roads linking the rural communities? Where are the mechanised farmlands? Rather than put in place these time-tested legacies that will touch the lives of the people, the loquacious Godswill was busy building elitist grandiose projects. What an unfortunate uncommon transformation! However, in all these, let God will be done.